Strasburger King

Stephen Strasburg has been dominant in the month of August and has a great chance for another “Whopper” at home versus the Padres. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Danny Valencia, Athletics, $6,400 – Since becoming a member of the Athletics on Aug. 4, Valencia has produced a SLG of .517, compared to .506 as a member of the Blue Jays this season. The negative ballpark shift has unsurprisingly taken a toll on both his AVG and OBP, but seven of his 15 hits have gone for extra bases nonetheless. For the season, Valencia is hitting .290 against LHP with a .343 OBP. Only Billy Butler owns a greater hard-hit percentage on the team against LHP this season (34.80 percent versus Valencia’s 33.30). Opposing starter Mike Montgomery is 0-4 with a 7.46 ERA over his last eight starts after starting 4-2 with a 1.62 ERA in his first seven outings. All the Athletics’ platoon advantages are in play against LHP (Josh Phegley, Brett Lawrie and Jake Smolinski), as I think Montgomery could be in line for another tough outing even at Safeco Field.

Francisco Cervelli, Pirates, $7,200 – Among all players with at least 65 ABs versus LHP this season, only 10 currently own higher wOBAs than Francisco Cervelli’s .419 tally. He simply possesses elite skills against the handedness, especially for a catcher. Brad Hand and the word “elite” do not belong in the same sentence together, and I think he’ll have a tough time with a few of the Pirates’ best bats. Hand has allowed a .293/.335/.431 slash line to RHHs this season and owns a 4.46 ERA, 1.30 WHIP overall. Expect “The Great Gazoo” to split the gaps at least once in cavernous Marlins Park. He’s an ideal fit for cash games, but can be substituted for a better options in tournaments due to the low probability for a HR in the reincarnation of Polo Grounds.

Outfield:

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $9,900 – Mike Foltynewicz’s previous start came against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field and I noted he had been torched by LHHs this season. Sure enough, Anthony Rizzo took him deep, Chris Coghlan drove in two and Miguel Montero drove in one, which led to Foltynewicz’s exit after only 4.2 IP. His updated slash line allowed to LHHs sits at .337/.380/.604, therefore I think Carlos Gonzalez is more than worthy of consideration even outside of Coors Field. Atlanta’s Turner Field ranks inside the top half for LHHs in terms of AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS. While it may not be Coors Field, you will not have to pay the inflated price either, which actually propels Gonzalez to a prime value on the slateUPDATE: Carlos Gonzalez left Monday’s game with a sore knee. If he were to sit, Charlie Blackmon would emerge as the best lefty play on the team.

Yoenis Cespedes, Mets, $9,900 – Road teams very rarely open as -190 favorites, but Vegas clearly feels Jerome Williams versus Noah Syndergaard is a mismatch. The Mets’ bats just produced 14 runs in back-to-back games in Coors this weekend, so they’ll be coming in hot. David Wright was activated in time for Monday night’s contest and he certainly should prove to be an upgrade in the lineup. After a run of three consecutive solid starts, Williams morphed back into himself. He allowed eight ER in 1.2 IP in one of the least-hitter friendly parks in baseball (Marlins Park). Williams ranks second-worst among all SP with at least 100 IP in both ERA and FIP. Only Curtis Granderson’s .391 wOBA ranks higher than Yoenis Cespedes’ .382 against RHP on the team, but Cespedes’ .322 AVG easily leads all Mets. This is simply an upper-echelon hitter against a rather mediocre starter. It’s smart to bet on the hitter in this situation… especially one only a few days removed from a three-HR explosion.

Pitcher:

Dallas Keuchel, Astros, $21,300 – Since I incorrectly wrote up Dallas Keuchel yesterday, and all in the info still applies, I am going to just re-apply it to Tuesday. The matchup in Yankee Stadium against the Yankees is not ideal but do not fade Keuchel on those premises alone. The Yankees rank in the top 10 of wOBAwRC+ISOBB rate, AVG and OBP while striking out at the fourth-lowest percentage. A lot of factors are working against Keuchel, but many of those can be overlooked because of the fact that he’s such an extreme groundball pitcher. Also, he’ll be squaring off against struggling Ivan Nova (5.19 ERA in the last three games), so the win potential is there. Why am I so enthusiastic about a pitcher in a horrible matchup? It’s partially because in their previous meeting, Keuchel threw a complete game shutout while striking out 12. The Yankees are tough, but not nearly as much so if they can’t lift the ball in the air. Keuchel could simply be their kryptonite.

Noah Syndergaard, Mets, $21,300 – “Thor” is amidst a mini-slump that carries a 6.19 ERA over his past three starts. The good news is Noah Syndergaard shut down the Phillies in their one previous meeting; in 7.1 IP, the Phils only managed six hits and zero ER on May 27. The Phillies are now a much improved offense when compared to May, but still rank in the bottom five of wOBA against RHP (as opposed to ranking last for a long while). Playing to Syndergaard’s strength, the Phils K at a 20.80 percent rate and Syndergaard strikes out more than a batter per inning. Even if the bats come alive against him like they did yesterday against Jacob deGrom, he should carry a solid K floor, helping owners feel good about him in cash games.

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, $19,500 – Stephen Strasburg returned from the disabled list on Aug. 8 and all he’s done in three starts is K 25 batters in 20.0 IP since returning. His ERA sits at 1.35 for the month and it appears we finally have a 100 percent healthy Strasburg, which is a beautiful thing for fantasy purposes. The 27-year old possesses some of the nastiest stuff in the game and is one of the most dominant pitchers around when he is firing on all cylinders. On Tuesday, he’ll square off against the soft-hitting Padres. They rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line-drive percentage, while striking out at 21.30 percent (seventh-highest percentage in baseball) against RHP. This isn’t something that has been said very often this season, but Strasburg feels like the surest thing on the slate… so are you #TeamStras?

Charlie Morton, Pirates, $14,000 – Despite a career 6.3 K/9, Charlie Morton has now struck out at least six batters in four straight games. He has struck out at least eight batters in each of the past two starts, so I’m not really sure where this K surge is coming from. Regardless, do not expect it to continue on Wednesday, because he’ll face a Marlins team that strikes out at the eighth-lowest percentage. The matchup is still a favorable one however, as the Marlins do very little with the contact they do make. They rank dead last in wOBA against RHP and in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard-hit percentage and line-drive percentage. Morton likes to rely on the ground ball and could make fast work out of the lowly Marlins. I think he’s a great cash option because, while his ceiling isn’t incredibly high, he should have an opportunity to last well into the game.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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